Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Great Debate

Well... the 12 week mark has come and gone. Its crazy to think that in 7 months another baby will be making his or her way to our house.

I also find myself in a position that I never envisioned I would be in...

The 12 week mark has come and gone and I still haven't told my boss I am expecting another baby.

Truth be told, I don't really know what to say. I don't really know what to do.

On one hand, I LOVE my job. Given all the stresses of having three kids three and under and then adding to that the stresses of a child with special needs, those few hours away focusing on something other than home and hearth have been a saving grace. It is wonderful to go an focus on music, my students and what many people believe I was "destined" to do.

On the other hand, I still haven't gotten over the guilt of leaving my kids with a sitter. I missed out on several "firsts" for Faith that were delayed because of the Autism,  and I frequently feel guilty that I miss out on snuggle time with Vivi (especially now that we know another baby is coming into the picture and ahe a will no longer be the youngest).

Timing is also particularly difficult. The new baby is due 3-4 weeks before the start of the new semester.  My current sitter is moving this summer and this means I will likely have to look into traditional daycare unless I can find another friend that is looking to make a few hundred extra dollars a month...this means that I will have nowhere to take the new baby since daycare facilities can't take infants until 6-8 weeks of age.

This means I will definitely not be able to teach the autumn only lecture classes I taught this year...having a baby with me for a few weeks in the office while I teach private students is one thing, but I highly doubt it would be deemed as "appropriate" for there to be a baby wearing professor teaching lecture classes on campus.

Will my boss be understanding about the situation and be okay with me bringing baby along to teach lessons for the first few weeks? Who knows. That is the sleepiest time for newborns so he or she will likely not be a nuisance and since I am not planning on breast feeding (let the firestorm of hate comments commence but imagine me with an Autistic three year old, an energetic two year old, and a 13 month old having to be tethered to a new baby every hour on the hour...I'm going to be honest and say that in the interest of sanity and me being the best mom I can be, formula is going to be MUCH easier.) A quick shake of the bottle and diaper change and I will be able to focus on my students.

Then comes the guilt, and the question: will I be able to leave my newborn at a daycare center when he/she is old enough to go? I am not sure I am going to be able to handle it... as much as I love my job, I love my babies more and I don't know if I have it in me to leave any of them at a daycare facility,  let alone a newborn.

The other problem: my husband really wants me to keep my job.  It has added extra security to our income each month. It has provided a way for us to afford therapy for Faith through the ASSERT program, and has made it possible for us to afford to start some home renovations to make our house more "ours" and not just a place we moved into.

I have been praying about it for weeks and I still am no closer to an answer about what to do.

On the one hand my job offers me an "out" which decreases my stress and makes me a better mom and provides a little extra security financially that makes me and my husband worry less, but on the other hand, the timing of the new baby will make it extremely difficult to maintain...let alone "sell" the idea to my boss.

I LOVE being a college professor.  It truly is my "dream job". I get to spend every day focused on my third greatest love (my husband and kids come first and second and tie for both spots), music.  I get to help others find passion for it and direction. I get to make a difference in their lives and their education.  I love the spirited debates with my colleagues and feeling like I have some say in the future of the voice department. ..

But then I prepare a lesson for church and read quotes about motherhood and its divine role and importance and I dissolve into a puddle of tears,  feeling like this internal debate means that I am a failure at it or a bad mom because I need the break...

That being said, I am an adjunct.  I am sure if I was full time with benefits,  this internal discussion would not even be necessary.  I would be entitled to maternity leave and would just have to make up lessons when I got back and find someone to cover my lecture classes until I got back...

I also don't know what my future with the department will be next year anyway even if the baby wasn't coming into play. Financially the music department is struggling to find funding sources to cover current programs and programs they announced that were supposed to be ready this year that aren't.

Perhaps, the reason why I am not getting an answer when I pray is because it isn't up to me. It will be up to the voice area head and the music department chair...

But that still leaves me where I have been for the last several weeks...starting and erasing emails to the voice area head to tell her the news about baby #4.

Why does life have to be so complicated sometimes.

Hugs and loves until next time, darlings.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Overcoming Fear

I let the cat out of the bag...
For those of you that missed it on Facebook,  the picture should give a clue...
Did you guess yet? 
Yes, it is true...After only 6 months of NOT being pregnant,  my body decided that was enough of that.
A lesson for those of you that think you can't get pregnant if yout can...
So...we are rolling with it. Nielson #4 is on his or her way and they will be 13 months younger than our sweet Vivi.
The doctor joked about not thinking he would see me again so soon...My husband said that we just liked him so much we couldn't stay away.
News of this pregnancy came right around a time when I was thinking a lot about my dad...
Most of you have read posts where I talked about his death at the age of 37 when I was the tender age of 12.
I am not going to hold back on this post so I am going to lay it out there...
I literally watched him die.
A sight I wouldn't wish on anyone.
You see, my dad struggled with his weight most of his life.  He was very active but NOTHING he did would help him lose weight.
He had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was about 100 pounds overweight.
He did EVERYTHING he could to lose weight. He was super active (an avid golfer in the summer and played basketball EVERY weeknight during the winter).
Finally,  a doctor told him he would be dead in 6 months if he didn't lose the weight and he recommended an experimental procedure...gastric bypass.
By today's standards,  my dad would havr NEVER been considered for gastric bypass.  They may have suggested the lap band... but, given my conversations with my own doctors about his medical history and how it pertains to mine, my doctors believe he was insulin resistant (which hadn't yet been discovered) and the addition of a glucophage medication, coupled with his active lifestyle would have made a difference.
However,  my dad had gastric bypass...and it worked...too fast. In just 2 months he lost that 100 pounds, but he didn't lose the high blood pressure or high cholesterol.  (My doctors believe that the insulin resistance could have contributed to kidney damage from the kidneys processing too much sugar and this caused the two symptoms he needed yo disappear to remain.)
My dad felt great, but, his heart was still pumping blood for a man 100 lbs heavier because he had lost the weight so fast...
Almost 6 months to the DAY after his gastric bypass, at 11:30 at night, my dad sat straight up in bed, gasped, and fell down again...he gurgled and was unresponsive as he struggled for breath. Of course, my mother's scream woke the entire house and we all stood helpless, watching and wondering what to do.
The next morning, after we knew he was gone,  a doctor revealed the ugly truth. His heart had been working too hard since the surgery.  It caused the wall of his aorta to weaken and rupture. There would have been no way to save him. He was dead the minute the attack started.
This experience contributes to my biggest fear.
Genetics is a beast...and I inherited my dad's struggle with weight. I have been blessed to meet good doctors that have prescribed meds for insulin resistance to help keep the weight from creeping up, and fortunately,  so far, I have had no issues with high blood pressure or cholesterol.
But the fear lingers.
And I am 5.5 years from the age my dad was when he passed.
I want to be there to watch my babies grow up. I want my husband to have a wife. I got the news that I was expecting again, I got concerned.  I still (obviously) haven't lost the baby weight from my first three pregnancies...I got close after Phillie to being my pre pregnancy weight (about 10 lbs off) but no cigar.
I know health isn't all about weight...and I know that I haven't been active enough (outside of chasing my toddlers around) and it bothered me.
So I contacted a friend of mine who is a Beach Body coach.  I asked her if there were any low impact workouts available that I could invest in and do while pregnant...
Why a program?  Because I NEED structure.  With three littles to care for, plus a job, I don't have time to have to think about it.
She suggested the 21 Day Fix.
I did my research and decided it would be perfect.  The diet involved isn't really a diet,  it is changing the way you view food and portion size and there are two discs of workouts that range from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.  Perfect for a mom of so many littles that struggles to find time to shower, let alone work out.
At $70 with shipping,  I knew I couldn't afford it in October when I had the conversation with my friend,  but I resolved I was going to be SURE that a portion of my last paycheck of the semester would pay for it.
On Christmas Eve, when my paycheck went through, I ordered. It came yesterday (New Years Eve. perfect), and I started this morning.
So, why am I sharing this?
I am sharing this because I am hoping that someone out there reads this and decides not to take the "easy" way out with bariatric surgery.
I am hoping they see a doctor,  determine why they can't lose weight, and they decide to follow me...because if I can work out while overweight and pregnant,  ANYONE should be able to at least try.
I will be candid, this morning kicked my butt, and I was SUPER embarrassed to have my husband watching me struggle (he was up early this morning)  but I made it through, the embarassment didn't kill me, and I am looking forward to experiencing the sensation of the workouts getting easier as my body becomes healthier.
My doctor is on board! Yes, I have a Beach Body coach, but the coach is no substitute for a doctor's guidance.
Yes, its intimidating to go into a doctor's office and admit you need help but they have a wealth of knowledge.  They can test you for various problems that can cause weight gain or be caused by weight gain, and they can review the programs you are interested in with you and help you determine what is right for you.
Don't be afraid.
There are ways to lose weight that don't involve going under the knife. Yes, it takes changing habits, but you can do it!
One thing I love about 21 day fix is the motto: "One day at a time, One pound at a time".
There is NO quick fix for weight gain, anyone who tells you there is, is selling snake oil.
Ultimately,  I have decided that my father's story will NOT be my story.  I will use my father's story as fuel to change my life and be healthy for me, my kids, my husband and this baby that I am carrying.
I don't have a weight loss goal right now (that isn't realistic while pregnant and my doc said I am not overweight enough to need to lose weight while pregnant) my goals are as follows:

Being healthier will hopefully:
1) lower the incidence of migraines during my pregnancy
2) help me in my struggle with Gestational Diabetes,  keeping my sugars more level
3) help me avoid pre term labor and bed rest that I have had my last two pregnancies
4) get my body to do what its supposed to do with contractions alone causing dilation and thereby avoiding induction out of concern for the baby remaining in utero with the gestational diabetes.
I will worry about weight loss in August. For now, I just want to "feel" better.
Though,  I must admit,  it would be nice for people to actually be able to tell I am pregnant before I hit 35 weeks this time around so I don't feel like a whale who looks fat instead of pregnant...but for now we focus on jk

*Post Script*****

Okay...I have received some not so nice comments on here that I have chosen not to publish and some private messages on Facebook (as well as some not so mean comments that have made it clear I need to clarify something written above.) 

When referring to bariatric surgery as "easy," notice that I put the "easy" in quotes, because its not easy. I watched the HELL my dad went through.  He sat in the hospital for nearly a week with a tube in his nose feeding him because he couldn't ingest anything solid while the stitches in his stomach, that sectioned it off to the size of a GRAPE, healed. Once that was out, he had to be on a liquid diet for another two to three weeks.  He could only eat 3 oz of food in a sitting,  if he went over, he was instantly in the bathroom vomiting...when I say HELL, I mean it. 

However, I have heard stories among my circle, of people who actually choose to GAIN weight to qualify for one of the bariatric surgery options available (there are minimum and maximum weights for each) because they believe it will be easier than changing the bad habits that got them to where they are in the first place. I also have several friends who underwent the lap band procedure and found that, as the saline went down, their weight crept back up because they never changed the bad habits that had led to weight gain in the first place, and then had to scrimp and save to save up to have more saline injected into the band. 

These surgeries, just like making healthy changes to how you eat and working out,  are a LIFELONG commitment, and often lead to more hardship.  My dad LOST HIS LIFE because he believed there was no other way. My point was that there are other options before you resort to something as drastic as gastric surgery and it is worth it to examine them.  For some, the benefits outweigh the risks and they decide they would rather just do the surgery as opposed to trying another program,  and that is fine. But the reality of bariatric surgery isn't as easy as commercials and billboards would have you believe. 

I am well aware that it has been successful for some people,  and that is great! I wasn't meaning to demean your journey to being healthy or make it less than mine.  We all have our own paths to walk. Mine just happens to include a cautionary tale about gastric bypass surgery that has made me fully determined that my future will not include it. If your path did include it, and it worked for you with no complications, then I am glad for you. 

I simply wanted to give hope to those that believe they are stuck with no way out, that maybe think bariatric surgery may be easier than going to a doctor for testing and reviewing all options. I truly apologize to those whom I have offended.  That was not my intent.

Hugs and loves until next time, Darlings